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Front. Aging Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2019.00075

Traditional dance improves the physical fitness and well-being of the elderly

 Styliani Douka1,  Vasiliki I. Zilidou1*, Olympia Lilou1 and Vasiliki Manou1
  • 1Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

Regular physical activity is considered one of the most important factors for lifestyle, for maintaining good health in older ages and increasing life expectancy. Dance is considered an activity that involves coordinating movements with music, as well as brain activation because it is constantly necessary to learn and remember new steps. Dance as a musical-kinetics skill, requires the coordination of body movements with rhythmic stimuli, developing the adaptability of the movement. One hundred thirty (130) elderly people aged 60 years and over (mean age 67 years old) with an average of 8 years of education, attended Greek traditional dance sessions for 32 weeks. The frequency was 2 times per week, for 75 minutes per session. Dances were selected from all over Greece with moderate intensity initially. During the program, they had the opportunity to try with greater intensity dances. At the beginning and after the end of intervention all the participants were evaluated by the Fullerton Senior Fitness Test for their physical fitness, the Single Leg Balance and the Handgrip Strength Test. The results showed a significant improvement in their physical fitness (Chair Stand: T=-5.459, p<0.001; Arm Curl: T=-5.750, p<0.001; Back Scratch: T=-4.648, p<0.001; Sit and Reach: T=-4.759, p<0.001; Two Min Step: T=-5.567, p<0.001; Foot Up and Go: T=-8.599, p<0.001) and at their static balance with eyes open (Balance 1 leg: T=-4.996, p<0.001) and Handgrip Strength (Handgrip: T=-3.490, p<0.001). Elderly seem to enjoy dancing as an activity, while maintaining their functionality. Probably elderly in traditional dance cause prosperity in their lives by promoting active aging.

Keywords: Greek Traditional Dance, Elderly, physical health, physical function, Well-being

Received: 01 Sep 2018; Accepted: 14 Mar 2019.

Edited by:

Mario Bernardo-Filho, Rio de Janeiro State University, Brazil

Reviewed by:

Ramesh Kandimalla, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, United States
Danúbia D. Caputo, Rio de Janeiro State University, Brazil  

Copyright: © 2019 Douka, Zilidou, Lilou and Manou. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Ms. Vasiliki I. Zilidou, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, 541 24, Greece, vickyzilidou@gmail.com